Child Care Act 1991

Hearing of proceedings.

29

29. (1) Proceedings under Part III, IV or VI shall be heard otherwise than in public.

(2) The provisions of sections 33 (1), 33 (2) and 45 of the Judicial Separation and Family Law Reform Act, 1989, shall apply to proceedings under Part III, IV or VI as they apply to proceedings to which those provisions relate.

(3) The District Court and the Circuit Court on appeal from the District Court shall sit to hear and determine proceedings under Part III, IV or VI at a different place or at different times or on different days from those at or on which the ordinary sittings of the Court are held.

(4) Proceedings before the High Court in relation to proceedings under Part III, IV or VI shall be as informal as is practicable and consistent with the administration of justice.

F211 [ (5) Nothing contained in this section shall operate to prohibit

( a ) the preparation of a report of proceedings under Part III , IV or VI by

(i) a barrister or a solicitor, F212 [ or ]

(ii) F213 [ ]

(iii) a person falling within any other class of persons specified in regulations made under subsection (7) for the purposes of this subsection,

( b ) the publication of a report prepared in accordance with paragraph (a) , or

( c ) the publication of the decision of any court in such proceedings,

in accordance with rules of court, provided that the report or decision does not contain any information which would enable the parties to the proceedings or any child to which the proceedings relate to be identified and, accordingly, unless in the special circumstances of the matter the court, for reasons which shall be specified in the direction, otherwise directs, a person referred to in paragraph ( a ) may, for the purposes of preparing such a report

(i) attend the proceedings, and

(ii) have access to any relevant court documents,

subject to any directions the court may give in that behalf.

F214 [ (5A) (a) Subject to paragraph (b) , nothing contained in this section shall operate to prohibit bona fide representatives of the Press from attending proceedings referred to in subsection (1) .

(b) Subject to paragraphs (c) and (d) , where, in proceedings referred to in subsection (1), a court is satisfied that it is necessary to do so

(i) in order to preserve the anonymity of a party to the proceedings or any child to whom the proceedings relate,

(ii) by reason of the nature or circumstances of the case, or

(iii) as it is otherwise necessary in the interests of justice,

the court may, on its own motion, or on application to it by a party to the proceedings or by a person on behalf of a child to whom the proceedings relate, by order

(I) exclude, or otherwise restrict the attendance of, bona fide representatives of the Press from the court during the hearing or particular parts of it, or

(II) prohibit or restrict the publication or broadcasting of any evidence given or referred to during the proceedings or any part of such evidence,

and any such order may, with regard to any restriction, contain such conditions as the court considers appropriate.

(c) In determining whether or not to make an order under paragraph (b) , a court shall have regard to the desirability of promoting public confidence in the administration of justice and to any other matter that appears to it to be relevant and shall, in particular, have regard to the following:

(i) the best interests of a child to whom the proceedings relate;

(ii) the views, if any, of

(I) a party to the proceedings, and

(II) a child to whom the proceedings relate who is, in the opinion of the court, capable of forming his or her own views;

(iii) whether information given or likely to be given in evidence is sensitive personal information;

(iv) the extent to which the attendance of bona fide representatives of the Press might inhibit or cause undue distress to a party to the proceedings or a child to whom the proceedings relate by reason of the emotional condition or any medical condition, physical impairment or intellectual disability of the party or the child concerned;

(v) the need to protect a party to the proceedings or a child to whom the proceedings relate against coercion, intimidation or harassment;

(vi) whether information given or likely to be given in evidence might be prejudicial to a criminal investigation or criminal proceedings; and

(vii) whether information of the type referred to in subparagraphs (iii) and (vi) when taken together with other information would, if published or broadcast, be likely to lead members of the public to identify a party to the proceedings or a child to whom the proceedings relate.

(d) In considering the views of a child referred to in clause (II) of paragraph (c)(ii) , a court shall take account of the age and level of maturity of the child concerned.

(e) Where evidence in proceedings referred to in subsection (1) concerns a matter referred to in subparagraph (vi) of paragraph (c) , an application under paragraph (b) may be made by or on behalf of the Director of Public Prosecutions.

(f) In this subsection

party to the proceedings includes a witness in the proceedings;

sensitive personal information means information about a person that would, in the ordinary course of events, be known only to the person or members of the family, or friends, of the person, and includes but is not limited to

(i) information relating to the medical, psychiatric or psychological history of the person,

(ii) information relating to the tax affairs of the person,

(iii) information relating to the sexual conduct or sexual orientation of the person. ]

(6) F215 [ ]

(7) The Minister may, after consultation with the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform, make regulations specifying a class of persons for the purposes of subsection (5) if the Minister is satisfied that the publication of reports prepared in accordance with subsection (5)(a) by persons falling within that class is likely to provide information which will assist in the better operation of this Act, in particular in relation to the care and protection of children.

(8) Nothing contained in this section shall be construed to prejudice the generality of

( a ) any other provision of this Act (including this Act as amended by the Child Care (Amendment) Act 2007) or any thing which may be done under any such provision, or

( b ) section 267(2) of the Children Act 2001 .

(9) In subsection (5) , proceedings include proceedings commenced but not completed before the commencement of that subsection. ]

Annotations:

Amendments:

F211

Inserted (23.07.2007) by Child Care (Amendment) Act 2007 (26/2007), s. 3, S.I. No. 509 of 2007.

F212

Inserted (8.09.2011) by Child Care (Amendment) Act 2011 (19/2011), s. 46(2)(a)(i), S.I. No. 453 of 2011.

F213

Deleted (8.09.2011) by Child Care (Amendment) Act 2011 (19/2011), s. 46(2)(a)(ii), S.I. No. 453 of 2011.

F214

Inserted by Courts and Civil Law (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2013 (32/2013), s. 8, S.I. No. 5 of 2014.

F215

Deleted (8.09.2011) by Child Care (Amendment) Act 2011 (19/2011), s. 46(2)(b), S.I. No. 453 of 2011.

Editorial Notes:

E94

Power pursuant to subs. (7) exercised (28.11.2012) by Child Care Act 1991 (Section 29(7)) Regulations (S.I. No. 467 of 2012).

E95

Previous affecting provision: subs. (5)(a)(ii) inserted (23.07.2007) by Child Care (Amendment) Act 2007 (26/2007), s. 3, S.I. No. 509 of 2007; deleted as per F-note above.

E96

Previous affecting provision: subs. (6) inserted (23.07.2007) by Child Care (Amendment) Act 2007 (26/2007), s. 3, S.I. No. 509 of 2007; deleted as per F-note above.